Rep. Ed Clere's (R-New Albany) legislation establishing the Floyd County park district passed out of the House today with a 61-32 vote.
Many people have contacted me in support of establishing a park district because of their desire for a strong, stable parks system," said Rep. Clere. "This legislation will help ensure great parks now and for future generations."
House Bill 1507 would establish a Floyd County park district on January 1, 2012, unless a majority of the members elected to the New Albany City Council or Floyd County Council adopt a resolution preventing a park district from being established.
On January 1, 2012, all property and obligations of the park departments within the county will be transferred to the park district.
The bill would also establish a nine-member park commission, which would not receive a salary or a per diem.
The commission would have to prepare an annual budget for operating and other expenditures. The county board of tax adjustment would then have the authority to review the commission's budget for the park district.
The commission would have the same powers as a park board including: entering into contracts or leases for facilities or services, acquire or dispose of real or personal property, exercise the power of eminent domain, sue or be sued, and invoke legal or special remedy to enforce a park or recreation ordinance or commission action.
In addition, the commission would have to provide police protection for the park district grounds by either deputizing a park police force, or contracting with existing state or local law enforcement agencies to provide the service.
"The responsibility for funding parks has not been shared fairly between the city and county, and this legislation will correct that, while at the same time making the parks less political and more stable for the long term," Rep. Clere said.
The bill now goes to the Senate for further consideration.